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Posted by NTM (11503 posts) 5 months, 28 days ago

Poll: Should eSports be a part of the Olympics? (447 votes)

No, definitely not. 69%
It may not be physical in the same way as other Olympics sports, but you have to use your mind and team work. I think it should be considered. 13%
I couldn't care less either way. 13%
I don't know. I'm conflicted about it. 6%

I read that an Overwatch League are going to attend discussions with the Olympics committee about future participation in the Olympics (or, from what I read it's vaguer than that as to why they were there, but we'll go with that for the sake of discussion). My stance is that I don't think it should be. I'm just not a big fan of eSports, but in the end, I really couldn't care less if it did happen I suppose. I have nothing against eSports per se, but when people take it as seriously as actual physical sports in a similar manner, it just seems awkward/goofy to me. That is probably an offensive thing to some, but it's the way I view it (although I'm not saying I look down on people that love it; if it's something you enjoy watching/partaking in, then that's cool). eSports is just a different thing to me, it doesn't have to be considered similar to more physical sports to be 'equal' if you will. I don't think they need to look at the Olympics to say 'now we're like the others!' so to speak. It seems like it's just a way to find further acceptance when I don't find it necessary. Eh, what do you think? And, do you like watching eSports?

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#1 Edited by liquiddragon (3242 posts) -

For now, I would only consider games that have had real staying power e.g. Star Craft BW, Counter-Strike, Street Fighter II and maybe LoL.

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#2 Posted by FrodoBaggins (1904 posts) -

No i don't think it should. And I LOVE Overwatch League.

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#3 Posted by NTM (11503 posts) -

@frodobaggins: Just wondering, as someone that's not into it, did I write that incorrectly? Should I have put the Overwatch League, or was 'an' okay?

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#4 Posted by Marz (6095 posts) -

no, Olympics should stay as a showcase of phenomenal physical talent. Until VR gets to the point where you can actually move around in a large area with your body that showcases that physical ability then video games shouldn't be considered.

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#5 Posted by FrodoBaggins (1904 posts) -

@ntm: yeah it's defiantly THE Obverwatch League mate.

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#6 Posted by imhungry (1090 posts) -

I watch a fair amount of eSports and I don't think it's a good fit at all. The Olympics are about a very specific thing, physical sports, and it feels like a misguided attempt at 'validation' to get Overwatch included in the games. Chess hasn't even been in the Olympics and they've been trying for years.

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#7 Posted by an_ancient (303 posts) -

No, not on the grounds of whether is takes Olympian feats of reflex, team coordination and strategy, but that the game will not last that long. Even Starcraft 1 which has endured is too niche and rattling the nest by the gaming community will just rub other sports fans the wrong way. The way the events are also officiated is too different. I think it's a PR move by Blizzard, but nothing more. If they did succeed they would have such a headache fighting with so many agencies over broadcasting rights and I don't think they want to do that again after their experience with Starcraft 1.

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#8 Edited by Onemanarmyy (4038 posts) -

No straight up 'yes' option huh? :)

I don't know. Chess & Darts are not olympic sports (yet?) so Esports probably shouldn't be neither. But i can see the olympic committee looking at the viewernumbers of esports and wondering if there's a future there. Motorboating was an olympic event once. Racewalking is a peculiar mainstay. Shooting & Archery are going strong.

For what it's worth, the 2018 Asian Games will have League of Legends , Hearthstone , Starcraft II , Pro Evolution Soccer, Clash Royale , and Arena of Valor as a demonstration. The 2022 Asian games will have esports as officially medaled event.

Last year, french IOC member Bach said the following about Esports:

“We are not yet 100% clear whether eSports is really sport, with regard to physical activity and what it needs to be considered sport,”

However, Bach did concede that eSports achieves a “high engagement from the youth”, which has become a clear priority for the IOC in their recent additions to the programme. He attributed the June additions of three-on-three basketball and freestyle BMX for the Tokyo Olympics to the committee’s push for a “more youthful, more urban” Games.

That said, violence is a no-no for him.

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#9 Edited by MattGiersoni (587 posts) -

I don't think it should, if chess and other such games aren't, I don't think e-sports should be either. That said, I think e-sports have huge potential and are already huge and will only get bigger, so much that they can stand on their own and don't need to be part of any competition or olympics etc. There are already huge events in giant stadiums over multiple days in a variety of video games so I think e-sports can stand on their own.

Video games and especially e-sports are relatively new compared to other sports and such so we're still in the early days of their development, things will definitely become super huge with time, even some sport networks want to broadcast e-sports because they know it's becoming more and more popular.

While I don't find your view of e-sports offensive, it does strike me as a bit ignorant. Yes it can look goofy and weird to some, I get that but e-sports just as anything competetive takes huge amounts of effort and practice, it's rarely just talent. Why shouldn't they take it seriously? People often spend hours everyday practicing on a game, analyzing their replays, optimizing stuff, it's hard work, not just fun. Physical sports are probably more demanding, but the hard work of e-sport players shouldn't be diminished.

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#10 Posted by devise22 (713 posts) -

@onemanarmyy: While your right there has been some inclusions of strange sports, I still don't know if E-Sports would count.

One thing I'll note and this could change as years continue to go on, a big reason E-Sports even despite it's popularity hasn't found it's way to the same "casual" success as other sports is the lack of it being physical. Like yes chess and darts aren't overly physical but the games were so commonplace that regular folk had a good idea of what was going on. But even if you have no idea what is going on, talking to people who know nothing of sports at all, a lot have a tolerance to look at it during Olympics or playoffs for some sports because you can physically relate to and understand the actions someone is taking.

You could remove the commentators and all on screen indicators on any of those sports, and even somebody who knows nothing can see someone do something that appears physically impressive/hard to do. There is a sense of wonder to that. Would a casual see someone make a good push mid lane in an Moba or make a quanta kill and understand what is happening if it wasn't for the commentators explaining everything in detail and the announcer hyping up kills etc?

Again though that isn't a permanent thing. If games like Chess and Darts got casual enough that regular viewers had an idea of what they were looking at and why it's impressive even if they didn't follow it, then in another 20 years or more when the baby boomers all pass on and literally everyone everywhere has played enough games to understand base gaming concepts? I think you could then see it explored in those avenues.

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#11 Posted by Ares42 (4226 posts) -

For now, I would only consider games that have had real staying power e.g. Star Craft BW, Counter-Strike, Street Fighter II and maybe LoL.

Yes, this is exactly why it shouldn't. The ever-changing nature of what exactly Esports is makes it a poor fit for something like the Olympics. Five years down the line no one is gonna care about Fortnite anymore, and then it's some other game that's the new hotness. Even the most resilient games would stay relevant for three maybe four events at most.

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#12 Posted by deactivated-5b85a38d6c493 (1990 posts) -

If it would make the Olympics actually somewhat entertaining, sure why not.

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#13 Posted by Rahf (478 posts) -

@ares42: I can't even imagine a lifespan of 3-4 events. Athens 2004 didn't even have a world with WoW in it. Half-Life 2 was released that year, but not before the Olympics.

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#14 Posted by mems1224 (2461 posts) -

Lol no. Gamers need to let it go. It's not a sport, there is nothing wrong with that. Let it be its own thing.

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#15 Edited by hippie_genocide (2399 posts) -

I don't think there are many people that just like watching esports. I think there are fans of each little niche within the umbrella of esports (MOBA, Fighting Games, RTS, FPS), but I kind of doubt there are many that are into all that stuff. In my opinion, anyway. It would have even less appeal if put on display for the general sports fan or the casual follower of the Olympics. So I don't think it would work from an audience standpoint. Beyond that, I just don't think it belongs. The Olympics should stay a test of athleticism or physical acuity. And it's just lame that any esport would feel the need to glom on to traditional sports in an effort to grab that brass ring of validation.

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#16 Posted by fledeye (249 posts) -

While there have been periods when the Olympics incorporated more cerebral activities such as architecture and music, as someone who knows people who have trained hard for their place on an Olympic team/medal (and the people who’ve coached them) I say absolutely not.

The Olympics are about human endurance, agility and physical prowess. They are about people and nations coming together to celebrate friendly competition. They are for moments like Jesse Owen showing up Hitler and Eddie the Eagle trying his hardest, failing and still being a national hero.

They are about humans pushing themselves to be the best they can be, brake records and (in some cases) push political boundaries.

While I think there is a certain level of skill and practice that goes into playing a video game well, I don’t think it can match up in anyway to the Olympics.

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#17 Edited by IVDAMKE (1816 posts) -

No, 'esports' are too reliant on individual games which can come and go in less than 2 Olympics cycles, the longevity isn't there. Most of the current sports in the Olympics are very long mainstays that don't require a middleman to create the sport, just the tools to compete.

They need to remain their own thing.

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#18 Posted by NTM (11503 posts) -

@frodobaggins: Okay, thanks. Looks like I can't edit it though, so oh well. Now I know though.

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#19 Posted by NTM (11503 posts) -

@boonsong: While I think it makes for an okay discussion, which is why I made the thread, I actually agree in the sense that the Olympics isn't that fun to watch. I might watch the opening ceremony (I thought the 2012 summer Olympics opening in London was good), but after that, I don't really watch and actually kind of find what's on cable TV boring around that time since it's all Olympics. And considering I am not an eSports fan either, it wouldn't really change anything, although I might sit down and check out for a few minutes what's going on.

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#20 Posted by YI_Orange (1354 posts) -

I've never found any interest in the Olympics, so sure. I think the clinging to tradition that often goes on with this discussion is pretty silly. To me(tell if I'm wrong), the Olympics are supposed to be about the spirit of friendly competition more than the fact that it's represented by shotput or swimming or whatever. Also, saying "Chess isn't even in yet so no." is kinda strange. Why not just say, yes, but also Chess should be added.

The lack of viewer understanding is probably the best argument against e-sports making a more mainstream push, but while it can be a turn off for a lot of people, it can be exciting for some. I remember these last Winter games there was a big internet movement of people for some reason getting really into watching and trying to understand Curling who had previously had no interest in it.

As for the fleeting nature of it, I don't see how that's a problem. I guess you run into the issue of records, but as a cultural event goes, capturing zeitgeist can be just as exciting as tracking the progression of tentpoles. And maybe I'm wrong, but a quick google search tells me that Olympic numbers have fallen the past couple of events. If you told the world that that year's Fortnite was an olympic event, sure you would get some grumbling, but I doubt anyone would stop watching because of it. On the other hand, you would likely get a ton of people who otherwise had no interest to at least tune in for one event, and sometimes that's all it takes to try more.

One of the biggest problems I see is the ability for it to be global. Please correct me here, but for the Olympics, most/all competing countries are represented in most/all events, right? Taking even something like fighting games where you only need one person, the big tournaments tend to be US, Canada, South Korea, Japan, with an odd other country here or there. (Shoutout to Luffy taking the W for France in Street Fighter IV). Though I suspect if they became Olympic events it would become much easier to field competitors.

As for the argument of how hard it is to be a world contender at video games, these often sound like they come from people who have literally zero experience with any professional scenes. These players work extremely hard. Speaking specifically for League of Legends, they practice for like 10 hours a day with their teams and then some continue to play on their own. There's been issues of players getting wrist injuries in their early 20s. And for all games, the reflexes, coordination, stamina, foresight, and mental/emotional fortitude it takes to be anywhere near competitive is often under appreciated.

Now, if it never happens I won't care either way. I think it could be interesting, and I would probably tune in for some Olympic DBFZ. But mainly, It's just odd to me how against the Olympics evolving people are. New events should at least be tried. Electronic or otherwise.

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#21 Posted by Atlas (2738 posts) -

I don't know if eSports has the broad global appeal and reach to justify a place at the Olympics. Maybe I'm ignorant on the subject, but wouldn't it just be North Americans, East Asians (China, Japan, South Korea), and Europeans (mostly Western)? Are people playing Overwatch or Rocket League in Turkey, Uganda, Guatemala, South Africa, Mongolia, etc.?

I don't think people need to be so sacred about what is and isn't about the Olympics, especially now that events like skateboarding and rugby sevens are making their way into the games. You either need to stick to the spirit of the ancient games and just keep it super pure, which eliminates footy, basketball, and a ton of other great sports, or just allow anything that requires mental and physical acuity, including bowling, darts, and vidja games. But at the same time, I don't care about eSports, so it would do nothing to increase my interest in the Olympics.

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#22 Posted by Efesell (4180 posts) -

My actual in my heart of hearts answer is that I don't give a fuuuuuck about what the Olympics does.

But I also want all of the people who would think they can arbitrarily gatekeep what is and is not a sport to be shoved in a locker.

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#23 Posted by AdamALC (272 posts) -

No. Absolutely not.

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#25 Edited by BrunoTheThird (807 posts) -

Sculpture, painting, music, etc., were once in the Olympics, but I believe the artists' work had to be sports related. The Starry Night would've got nothing!

When I see people dominating at Counter Strike, it is clearly because of exceptional physical control, reflexes, and absolute mental acuity, just like archery or the shooting event, but that would never even be considered as a sport until something closer to analogue shooting like airsoft was considered/accepted as a sport, followed by digital shooting such as light gun games, then last after that would be mouse/controller-based shooting -- not that this makes sense or will ever happen, but there is a natural progression you have to humour for a hot second. I really don't see it.

By the time video games are basically full-body activity simulators, you'd just be doing the same as a regular sport with certain superficial limitations, so it'd be pointless by then. I would be all for an overall eSports event that was the digital equivalent of the Olympics, though!

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#26 Posted by Nixamo (63 posts) -

Nah. There's nothing impressive about being good at videogames.

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#28 Edited by BrunoTheThird (807 posts) -

I would argue shooting isn't a sport, but that's in the Olympics. I agree with the consensus that there should be physical prowess involved, but shooting and archery don't exhibit that, nor do really good Counter Strike players. Is there a world of difference in that specific case?

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#29 Posted by htr10 (1018 posts) -

I don’t watch the Olympics anymore, but I’d probably watch it if they added eSports. Giant Bomb doing Olympics coverage could be pretty great.

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#30 Posted by cmblasko (2883 posts) -

Yes, absolutely. They are fun to watch and require a tremendous amount of dedication and skill to perform at a high level.

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#31 Posted by Ungodly (442 posts) -

I don’t have a problem with including video games, but I don’t think it fits the Olympic aesthetic. Besides there are several avenues to see high level play, and I honestly don’t care about video games getting “validation”.

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#32 Posted by Ascara89 (110 posts) -

I don't think that I'd put them in with the olympics, if there is such a need for it, maybe have a separate esports olympics?

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#33 Posted by Gamer_152 (14723 posts) -

I want to say this has come up on the site before. I wouldn't be opposed to it happening one day, but I just don't think it makes sense at the moment. Not because esports doesn't require skill or tactics or training or any of that, but because I think the audiences for Olympics sports and esports don't have an enormous overlap. Most of the people who enjoy the Olympics would be kind of baffled and uninterested in video games showing up, and it's not as if the people who do like esports don't have live competitive events they can turn to to see them played at an expert level. I think there's sometimes a tendency to want to see esports in the Olympics because we want to see society legitimise games as a medium, the same way gamers were once really concerned about film critics treating games as serious business, but historically, a lot of forms of art and entertainment haven't become meaningful by just being crammed into mainstream cultural spaces early on, but by forging their own spaces which over time became as culturally respected as the traditional spaces.

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#34 Edited by gunflame88 (371 posts) -

I wouldn't care really, because I don't care about professional sports nor the Olympics. If anything, video games should get their own Olympics, and I bet since gaming is endlessly gaining popularity we could see some kind of massive global esports event in the future. Professional sports are boring and disgraced, in my opinion, there's nothing to be gained in video games being recognized as a "true" sport along them.

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#35 Posted by fledeye (249 posts) -

@brunothethird:

Spoken like someone who’s never done archery in their life. It’s bloody hard work. You don’t just sit at a PC and move your hands around a bit.

In archery, you need a lot of core strength, you need incredibly powerful shoulders and arms. You need to be able to control your breathing. Not to mention the fact that in training you walk miles up and down the range a day. An Olympic range is 70m so every end (three arrows) you walk 140m. In training you might shoot roughly 400 arrows in a day so you might walk 10-12 miles. No physical prowess?

Sorry, you’ve actually made me angry.

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#36 Posted by Ares42 (4226 posts) -

@fledeye: He was saying that high level esports requires physical prowess, just like other sports people might assume aren't that tough (like archery)...

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#37 Posted by NTM (11503 posts) -

@gamer_152: You could be right. I feel like it may have as well actually, but I wasn't sure and it was a recent thing to come up in which actually happened, as opposed to being hypothetical.

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#38 Edited by BrunoTheThird (807 posts) -

@fledeye: As Ares42 politely explained, I already said shooting and archery required enormous physical prowess with regards to control in my first comment. I said in my second comment that archery didn't "exhibit" that -- didn't exhibit, not didn't require, there's a massive difference -- because it's a sport with very little movement that laymen assume is easier than every other sport in it, probably; shooting even more so than archery. Just like people assume about certain high-level eSports play, but if you don't do it (the sport), it's not wise to poo poo its legitimacy.

I realize now I said I "would" argue it isn't a sport (shooting), but I meant could. That was an error. Nothing enraging, though. Next time, kindly ask me to clarify if it isn't clear instead of being rude to a stranger on the internet.

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#39 Edited by ltcolumbo (130 posts) -

I don’t have an issue including something like video games in principle because it does take hand-eye coordination, and there are obviously some people on the planet who are physically just leaps and bounds better than the average person. However, I also would say that if the act of practicing your field of expertise 8-10 hours per day can cause morbid obesity, it probably shouldn’t be in the Olympics.

Celebrating physical fitness for a few weeks ever couple of years (counting Winter Olympics) is all right. I’d lean towards removing some of the currently-accepted physically-bereft activities from the current roster over adding another new one.

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#40 Posted by xPolyMorphic (118 posts) -

@devise22: LOL is more popular than most sports

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#41 Posted by csl316 (14910 posts) -

Probably not. All it will do is open up debate about if it's really a sport, then what games are worthy, which will just lead to more internet arguments so why even bother.

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#43 Edited by soulcake (2512 posts) -

Only if it's a fighting game. All those moba's a TF2 clones are to boring to watch if you got no idea what's going on. Fighting games are easy enough to understand as a layman who never played videogames. And it should be one year only in the Japan Olympics so Japanese games only! In a way off promoting Japanese fighting games to the masses.

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#44 Posted by stantongrouse (144 posts) -

If the Olympics added esports I don't think it would legitimate the cause for either parties. Just getting new sports to be properly embraced by the IOC is hard enough - so getting them to understand and properly represent esports might be a tall order.

I think a more globally marketed, genre spanning esport event would be a good thing though - maybe it could be done without the national representation though, to create a more competitive playing field. I think just coming up with a suitable format for such an event is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome for it to have wide appeal.

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#45 Posted by Marcsman (3821 posts) -

NO

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#46 Posted by hermes (2573 posts) -

No

1- Olympics has always been, by design, competitions and display of physical prowess. Although there are examples of Olympic sports that may look like bordering on that definition (and winter games are worst), they all require a level of strength, stamina and dexterity above the average person honed with thousands upon thousands of hours of practice. If intelligence and a competitive activity was all that was required, things like chess, poker and board games should be included on the Olympics before videogames.

2- If the Olympics include eSports, they would only do it due to popularity and ratings, and that would dilute the status of the event. I know this sounds snobbish, but given that it represents the end goal of people that train their entire life for it, the organization should aspire to better things than "whats popular" or "what some demography watches"

3- Finally, I don't like the idea of activities so mercurial, fleeing and controlled by Corporations being part of the Olympics. Video games have short life span (games like Overwatch and PUBG are less than a couple years old, and likely won't be here by 2020, even games like Starcraft and Street Fighter 2 are often put to a side once the sequel is released), the rules and balance are entirely dependent on the whims of the developers (people like Blizzard are famous for overshooting when trying to remove elements they don't like of the meta) and they can change widely in short periods of time or with the release of new characters. This makes preparation a mute point. How do people train for them if they release patches every month that can change the meta so wildly?

I am in favor of companies promoting eSports championships, but the organization has to come from those companies.

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#47 Posted by htr10 (1018 posts) -

Yes.

Brad would get to be an Olympics correspondent.

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#48 Posted by blackichigo (432 posts) -

I can't imagine there will be a game that people will keep playing in such numbers that it needs to be at the Olympic games and people will want to watch it. Let's say they have OverWatch they're at the Olympics. Do they keep playing the original OverWatch 12 years from now or do they play OverWatch 2?

The Reason Why real sports work is because games and rules mainly stay the same. If you have even a vague idea of how a sport is played it's fairly easy to follow. I can't imagine trying to explain OverWatch to my grandma.

I don't know how relevant this is, but for whatever reason I always feel like gamers have this knawing need to want to have their love of games validated by putting games in other media like movies. I have no problem with games just being games.

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#49 Posted by SnowyPliskin (193 posts) -

Sport is defined by its physicality so no.